It was billed as a three-state battle between Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi but it was a teen-aged Texan who stole the show. Tyler Townsend of Longview, Texas drove to the $2,000 victory.
He also set fast time and overcame the invert that started him 4th in the first heat to win it and the pole position for the 30-lap feature event.
Tyler is no stranger to Arkansas victory lanes. As a 13-year old, he won many Modified Lite features in the state. At 14, he was a rookie in ASA asphalt Late Models before coming back to dirt a year later. He scored feature wins in Southern Sport Mods and Winged Modifieds and even captured the ArkLaTex Winged Modified association title last season.
Townsend started running mid-south type Open Wheel Modifieds at age 17 and captured the SMP Longhorn Speedweek title this summer.
One day before his 19th birthday, Tyler was back in Arkansas at the Drew County Speedway looking for another feature win.
Townsend’s time of 17.331 seconds earned him a spot in the first heat.
Tyler Stephens of Judsonia, Brian Craighead of Farmerville, Louisiana and Hunter Rasdon of Jonesboro had the second through fourth quickest times out of 44 entries that timed in. Two late arrivals made it 46 modifieds in all that got divided up into 4 heat races. The four fastest times in each heat race were inverted for the start.
Track conditions were ideal for the heats though and in some of the best racing action of the night, all four of the fast-time guys were able to work their way to the front and win their heats while giving DCS’s largest crowd of the year a fine show in the process. They would all start in the first two rows of the feature just like they qualified.
Eight others came from the heat races and after two B-mains, eight more cars were were added to make the first 20 starters. The twenty-first starting spot went to Drew County Speedway’s 2011 Ryburn Automotive Superstore/Commercial Bank Open Wheel Modified track champion Richard Anders of El Dorado. The twenty-second starting spot was auctioned off to the highest bidder. Tyson Franks of Batesville bid $450 to get the position, start money was raised to $200 for the A-main field.
After a 4-wide salute and the customary fireworks, the 22-car feature event went green as the nightcap. Townsend and Stevens would swap the lead early in the race in a battle of Tylers but Townsend soon took command and drove on to victory.
Rasdon finished second in the Mastersbuilt Chassis house car Modified.
The battle for third was the best one on the race track in the final lap. Another teenager, Bud Mullins of West Monroe, Louisiana and veteran champion racer Mike Bowers of North Little Rock were down-to-door and rubbing from they time they entered turn three until the checker flag with Mullins getting the spot by a bumper.
Robert Baker of Benton rounded out the top five.
Anders Trucking, CMS Racing Engines and Swan Lake Flying Service put up a $600 award to the hard charger of the race. Four drivers — Bowers, Baker, Franks and Billy Kilpatrick of Magnolia — all gained 11 positions each but the award went to the driver who started the furthest back and that turned out to be Franks who started twenty-second and finished eleventh. He ended up with $800 back on his $450 investment from the auction.
John Polasini’s Late Race Pass Wins Late Models; McDuffie Clinches Nesmith Chevrolet West Division Title
John Polasini of Leland, Mississippi passed Duke Palasini with one and a half laps to go in the 25-lap, $850-to-win Nesmith Chevrolet Late Model feature and went on to victory.
Duke finished second but needed to win to keep his hopes of claiming the $5,000 Nesmith Western Region Championship alive. The late race winning move by John, sewed up the title for Meridian, Mississippi’s Jim McDuffie who was also racing.
McDuffie won the feature on September 17 at Drew County Speedway but after leading early in this one, had to withdraw from the event with mechanical issues. As it turned out, the championship was McDuffie’s anyway. Cody Kierre, Chandler Petty and Landon Frith completed the top five. There were 16 Late Models in the race.
Todd Abbott of Maumelle continued his winning ways in the Southern Sport Mod class as he claimed that $750 victory from a field of 17. Randy Joe Branch, BJ Moore, Cecil Reed, Jr. and Benny Ryburn made up the top five. (The Sport Mods have a big night coming up at the season ending ‘Spook Nite’ on October 15th. Southern Sport Mods will be having twin-25 lap features with each win paying $750 to win. One driver can go home with as much as $1500 while at least 30 can go home with a minimum of $100 — the start money for each feature. There will not be an entry fee.)
Bradley Knight of Farmerville, Louisiana topped a field of 16 Super Street Stocks for a $500 win.
Ricky Wrinkle, Derrick Nichols, Eric Nelson and Justin Weddle were second through fifth.
Drew County Speedway is in action Saturday night. All the regular classes — Modifieds, Southern Sport Mods, Nesmith Late Models, Super Street Stocks, Cruiser/Factory Stocks and Stingers will be in action. Grandstand admission is just $6.
Then, after a week off, the final event of the season will be Spook Nite on October 15. In addition to the AM Racing Store Twin 25s for the Sport Mods, Open Wheel Modifieds will race 25 laps for $750 to win and Factory Stock/Cruisers and Stingers will each have 30-lap features paying $500 to win.
Results for the Ark-La-Miss Modifieds Madness 9/24/11:
30-lap A – Main Feature – Open Modified Class
1. Tyler Townsend – Longview, Texas
2. Hunter Rasdon – Jonesboro
3. Bud Mullins -West Monroe, La.
4. Mike Bowers – North Little Rock
5. Robert Baker -Benton
Hard Charger Award – Tyson Franks -Batesville, AR
B – Main Feature 1 – Open Modified Class
1. Robbie McClain – Hot Springs
2. Mike Bowers – North Little Rock
3. Ed Sturdivant – Farmerville, La.
4. Chad Mallett – Greenbrier
5. Shawn Maloney – Monticello
B – Main Feature 2 – Open Modified Class
1. Jody Davidson – West Monroe, La.
2. Robert Baker – Benton
3. Josh Beckham – Choudrant, La.
4. Billy Kilpatrick – Magnolia
5. Jonathan Cribb – El Dorado
NeSmith Late Model Class
1. John Polasini – Leland, Miss.
2. Duke Palasini – Leland, Miss.
3. Cody Kierre – Beebe
4. Chandler Petty – Austin, AR
5. Landon Frith – Terry, Miss.
Southern Sport Mod Class
1. Todd Abbott – Maumelle
2. Randy Joe Branch – West Monroe, La.
3. BJ Moore – Fouke
4. Cecil Reed, Jr. – Monticello
5. Bennie Ryburn III – Monticello
Super Street Class
1. Bradley Knight – Farmerville, La.
2. Ricky Winkle – Star City
3. Derrick Nichols – Warren
4. Eric Nelson – Huttig
5. Justin Weddle – Bastrop, La.